Weird Things You Might See In Vietnam
Vietnam has an eclectic mix of natural beauty and ancient traditions with all the modern comforts of the 21st century. As technology advances, and the world changes, developing countries such as Vietnam have rushed to catch up whilst still managing to retain unique parts of their culture. This has resulted in interesting and sometimes hilarious consequences. Here’s a list of some of the weirdest things you might see in Vietnam.
You will often see Vietnamese women wearing loose cotton clothes that are essentially pajamas. Although it might look strange to an outsider this is perfectly normal and acceptable in Vietnam. These clothes are comfortable and practical for the hot climate. Also going about daily tasks such as dropping off children to school and shopping at the market are considered so ordinary that women feel no need to dress up and tend to simply wear what is most comfortable for them.
Every year Vietnamese people can attend up to 5 death anniversaries for family members. These anniversaries are parties to commemorate loved ones on the day they passed away. The family will invite friends and relatives to the house. Food is put on an alter and incense is lit. Once the incense stops burning, the food is removed, and everyone is invited to join the family for a feast.
If you are lucky enough to make a Vietnamese friend you too could be invited to a death anniversary which makes for a fascinating and rich culinary experience.
Eating weird things such as frogs, worms, crocodiles, dog/ cat meat, animal organs and even dirt!
Nothing is off the menu in Vietnam. You will see all kinds of things for sale here that you would never find in western countries. This stems from the days when Vietnam was a very poor country and people simply couldn’t afford to waste anything. The cuisine was also heavily influenced by the Chinese. Milk and other supplements are still difficult to source so foods that provide these essential vitamins and minerals are still present in the Vietnamese diet.
Snake wine and other crazy stuff in bottles
If you wander down any street in Vietnam it is highly likely you will come across a selection of bottles for sale on the side of the road. If you look closely you will find snakes, sea cucumbers, and starfish floating in the auburn colored liquid. This is Vietnamese wine.
Vietnamese people believe that drinking wine with these creatures preserved in it is good for the health and will improve their sexual abilities.
Buffalos on bikes
A trip to Vietnam is not complete without seeing some hilarious scenes of people transporting huge items on the back of their bikes.
Cars are a luxury item here and in a country where the roads are sometimes very steep and narrow it is impossible for trucks to access some areas. This has resulted in desperate measures to transport things you would never imagine could fit on the back of a bike. These can range from fridges and air conditioning units to goats and buffalo!
Heaven for spider man
To an outsider Vietnam’s electricity infrastructure can sometimes look as if Spiderman has made crazy webs all over the country. This is the result of having to rebuild a country from scratch after the Vietnam-American war.
After the war, there simply wasn’t enough money to bury cables underground, so temporary measures were made to supply electricity. The sheer number of people needing electricity resulted in power poles being covered in a tangle of cables. It can, at times, look unsafe but locals will assure you there are very rarely any injuries from these crazy cables but rainy and stormy days
Bargaining in daily trade
If you visit any market in Vietnam you will see people passionately bargaining. This is because the Vietnamese economy is organized under mini-capitalism. This gives each trader the freedom to set his or her own prices and the scale of competition means prices can vary from store to store. Here it is perfectly acceptable to discuss the price and ask for a discount.
Paid crier at funerals in south Vietnam
Even some Vietnamese people don’t understand this one! If you are ever part of a funeral ceremony in South Vietnam you may notice some people crying in a very dramatic way. These people are hired by the family to essentially bring down the mood and make everyone else feel like crying too!
Ninja on the road
Having pale skin is considered very beautiful in Vietnam and you will notice that women often cover themselves from head to toe when going out in the sun. This is to stop their skin from tanning. So when you see a ninja coming towards you on a bike, don’t worry, it’s probably just a woman trying to avoid the sun!
Smoking Vietnamese tobacco
You will often see groups of Vietnamese people gathering to take part in smoking some Vietnamese tobacco. There are two ways to smoke this. The first way is with a Bowl Bong. This one allows you to control how much smoke you inhale.
The Pipe Bong will give you a nicotine rush immediately. Vietnamese tobacco has a very high nicotine concentration and should be smoked in moderation if you are not used to it.
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